A critically endangered ploughshare tortoise was among those seized. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport is in the news once again after a man was caught trying to board a plane with more than 230 animals packed in his luggage. Divided between three suitcases, the alleged smuggler was carrying snakes, squirrels, spiders, lizards, frogs, a parrot, and more than 100 tortoises—including some endangered species.
In August of last year, a woman was stopped at the airport when security personnel found a live tiger cub in her carry-on bag.Among the numerous tortoise species was one ploughshare tortoise which, with only an estimated 200 alive in the wild, is considered one of the most endangered in the world.
Authorities first became suspicious when the suspect, who was returning to his home in Indonesia, passed through security. A scan of his bags revealed what looked to be live animals inside. When they were searched, the elaborately packed collection was discovered.
The menagerie, it's thought, was purchased at the Chatuchak Market, a known hub for the international trade of rare and endangered species.
Uncovering the cache was a huge win for local authorities but it points to a much larger problem. "Frankly," TRAFFIC Regional Director William Schaedla commented, "the situation is totally unacceptable in a country that claims to be effectively addressing illegal wildlife trade."
Spend five more minutes learning about smuggling:
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